Coming of Age Novels

Over the summer, the books I loved reading the most were The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and Looking for Alaska by John Green.  The main thing that they have in common is that they are both a sort of “coming of age” novel.  It was fun taking a break from my sci-fi/fantasy books which I usually read and find something a bit more realistic.  

If you read my previous book reviews, then you know my general thoughts about each individual book.  However there was a couple main things that both of these books made me feel or think about.  Just like most other coming of age novels, they made me think about how short life really is and how quickly our childhood and teenage life goes by.  I know this sounds somewhat depressing, but books that make me nostalgic and, in a way, almost sad have a special place in my heart.  *cue ironic inspirational music*  I guess they remind me of the fact that life on Earth is short and we really should make the most out of it.  I don’t want to say YOLO… But it’s true(now what I am saying is that you should go do something good and meaningful with your life, not go out partying and get drunk, which most people seem to do when it comes to saying yolo).

Now I could continue on such fun topics like ‘life’s short’ and the ‘inevitability of death’, but I’m going to go back to the books.  Both of which were an absolutely incredible read and I loved them both dearly and will probably read again in the future.  I really do enjoy when I find books like these where I genuinely feel like a changed person and I see things differently, even if what I do see differently are very small things such as someone doodling a flower or a cassette tape.  

– Alli

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“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” book review

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Summary(no spoilers)

Not too long after the suicide of Charlie’s friend, he is now a freshman in high school.  As nervous as he is, he is convinced by his new English teacher to “participate more” in class and as well as in life.  Trying to participate, he befriends a group of senior students who introduce him into the world of being a teenager.  Although not forcing it all onto him, they introduce him to partying, smoking, and drugs.  

Still mourning the loss of his friend, he seeks comfort in writing anonymous letters that consist of what is going on in his life and these letters are what make up the book.  Each letter is a moment in Charlie’s life where he decided to write and share it.  Stephen Chbosky has written an absolutely amazing story that has an amazing cast of characters that are all stuck with the realization of growing up.

My Thoughts(Spoilers?)

I absolutely loved reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  If you’re a wallflower or not, I felt as if just about anyone could relate to some moment in the book.  Whether it be the struggles with peer pressures or the simple aspect of liking someone who already has a boyfriend or girlfriend.  I would definately recommend this book to any young adult, especially if they’re just going into highschool.

The main character, Charlie, I loved so much.  His thoughts and feelings about high school and the other events that happened to him throughout the book are so interesting to read and his whole character is so unique, especially for only being 15 at the beginning of the book.  Charlie is so incredibly intelligent for his age and says the most amazing things throughout the book.  As much as I didn’t want to put the book down, every so often I just had to so I could take in what was just said and basically stare at a wall and think until I decided to pick the book up and continue reading.

One of my favorite scenes(just like everyone else who has read the book) is when Charlie and his new friends Sam and her step-brother Patrick are listening to music and they drive through a tunnel on the highway.  Naturally, Sam got in the back of her truck and stood up while Patrick was driving in the tunnel.  Charlie ended his letter about this moment with the line “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite”(which is probably the most famous line from the book).  I am going to have to agree with him on that statement.  I have stood up in the back of a truck while driving and, let me tell you, you feel as if you could take on the world.  

Throughout reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I was happy and laughed, as well as quite sad and nostalgic.  The whole idea of growing up and becoming an adult is one of the most terrifying yet exciting things to me, and when I read books like this they automatically stick with me for a long time.  As sad as these books make me, they also make me incredibly happy and I will always continue reading them.

– Alli

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“Looking For Alaska” book review

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Summary(no spoilers)

John Green, author of Looking for Alaska, really does have a way with words, doesn’t he?  In the span of 221 pages, Green takes you on an incredible journey that’s filled with such a combination of emotions.  As you read his book, one moment you are filled with this incredible sense of joy and happiness, but then you turn only a page or two and you are struck with one of the most thought provoking sentences you have ever read.

Looking for Alaska opens up with Miles Halter moving away from his family in Alabama to continue his high school education at Culver Creek Boarding School.  Here, he is introduced to his new room mate, Chip, or “The Colonel” as Chip prefers to be called.  The Colonel welcomes Miles into the school life, and gives him the ironic nickname of “Pudge”.  Once Miles starts to settle into his temporary home, Chip introduces Miles to his friend.  Alaska Young: Beautiful, intelligent, and slightly confusing and mysterious to Miles.  As Miles gets to know Alaska, he soon feels as if she is his absolute dream girl.  However, he later finds out they would not make the ‘ultimate couple’ much to his dismay.

John Green packs so much power into such a short book that you’ll find it very difficult to put down.  This story has just the right mixture of comedy, love, morals, and tragic loss.  Green’s story will leave you with such thought provoking ideas, questions, and other statements that will stay with you for quit some time.


My Thoughts(Spoilers)

Goodness gracious! Without a doubt, this was one of the greatest young adult books I have ever read.  I legit did not want to stop reading it, and when I had to put it down for a moment, I couldn’t focus on anything but the book!  Book in my hand or not, my mind kept racing about what they were saying and what was going to happen next.

“Geez, Chip, I can barely remember what I did last Tuesday and then there’s you memorizing the population of every single country!”

“Aw, Miles, you’re so cute and awkward. . .”

“Dude, I would love to try a bufriedo.”

“DANG IT, JOHN GREEN! DON’T DO THIS TO ME!”

During the entirety of me reading the book, I constantly went back and forth from laughing, to sobbing, to wandering around my room, pondering about life.  (Man, does John Green give a good existential crisis or what?) In all seriousness though, Green put so much meaning into such a small book.  My favorite overall parts of the book are when Alaska talks about being stuck in the “labyrinth of suffering” and how she feels about it.

Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia. (…) You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”

The moment Alaska Young said this, it was just, BANG, right there in my mind and was stuck there for the rest of the day, and still continues to check in on me here and there in my ever looming existential crisis.

Knowing John Green’s books, I knew that I would end up in tears at some point during the reading of this book.  As sad as his books are, I really do enjoy them a lot.  They are never your typical story and, especially this book, show that books don’t always have a happy ending.  When Alaska was announced dead, yes, I shed a few tears, but I was also slightly content with how it ended.  Like I said before, not all stories have a happy ending and they don’t always end up getting married and riding off into the sunset.  No.  As sad as it is, that’s not how it works.

I recently read an article that they are going to be turning Looking for Alaska into a movie and I am very excited to see how they do.  Hopefully, it will be just as amazing as the book.

 

– Alli

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Hello.

Hello.

Greetings.

Salutations.

Hi.  My name is Alli and this is my first post!  In the future, I will mostly be posting book reviews and the like.  I enjoy writing book reviews so I thought I would make a blog for it 🙂

– Alli =^.^=

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